Entering into the world of Customization is daunting for most pets. Faced with endless options of what to wear, what to buy (NP or NC?), what sort of ‘image’ you want for your pet (Krawkstar? Prissy Princess? Style Diva? Alien?)... It’s enough to drive even the most beautiful, fully customizable pets bonkers. Yet with extra limitations, UCs, Mutants, Babies, and Maraquans can throw even the most stylish users into a customization funk*.
However, moping about the extreme unfairness or lack of options is not the answer! Pets traditionally thought of as “uncustomizeable” are simply misunderstood. There is a whole array of higher and lower foreground items, backgrounds and other accessories that, when combined with the eye for fashion and honest enthusiasm, can turn a sad, drab pet into a Neopian Style Icon.
Pre-Customization Step 1: Consider your pet!
Each pet is an individual with unique personality traits as well as physical characteristics. The items that would suit and flatter a lonely grey Wocky are not tantamount to those that would brighten up an already peppy faerie Kyrii and definitely should not be used to customize a plump, ferocious Darigan Skeith.
In this pre-customization step, consider the following:
- How many colors is your pet made up of? What colors do they match with, and what do they clash with?
Consider colors that are a few shades darker and lighter than them, as well as “neutral” (ie. Browns, greys, etc.) colors that suit the pet. Grey pets match with a lot more colors than many faeries. Too many conflicting colors may seem like a good way to make your “problematic” pet POP, but they will only distract and detract from your pet’s overall look. Clashing bright colors hurt tired eyes and make bored/tired/angry Neopians hit the little red “X” button near the top-right of their pages.
- Is your pet very flat or does he/she have many values?
All pets were not created equally. Moreover, many of the UC pets were drawn by different artists in different years, leading to varying shading quality differences that, left unnoticed, could lead to a potentially hazardous, flat customization job. For instance, the cream accents in a faerie Wocky’s ruff, tail, and wing tips contrast nicely with the rest of its vivid pink. Its dynamic position and highlights in the face and knee also add to a more three-dimensional affect. However, the more monochromatic blend of pinks and purples found in faerie Kyrii make them appear more ‘flat’. There are no extreme shadows to create the illusion of volume, so it is up to us, the customizers, to play with values of foreground items and backgrounds to create such an illusion.
- What sort of personality does your pet have?
Ideally, a pet’s customization not only matches his or her color, but also his or her personality. Not all grey pets are sad and not all Darigans are evil. Perhaps your pet is a fan of irony. Let their unique personalities show through the different items you choose to customize them with.
Pre-Customization Step 2: Gather necessary items
Many Neopians are simply not aware of the sheer amount of items that UC pets and other ‘uncustomizeables’ can wear! Start by looking through your SDB for wearable items. There are also many petpages that list wearables by type. Look for Higher and Lower Foreground items, Backgrounds, Banners, Trinkets, etc.
Some of my favorite NC items that all pets can wear are:
Wonderland Croquet Set
Easter Negg Basket
Magical Floor Harp
Feet in the Clouds Foreground
To find more NC items, simply search through the Mall. The best part of this method is that you can actually try each item on before purchasing it. If you don’t have any NC, do not despair! Many kind Neopians give out NC occasionally and there are free NC capsules and gift boxes periodically throughout the year. Check the “Trinkets” and “Backgrounds” sections for many fun wearables.
Some of my favorite NP items that all pets can wear are:
Mutant Chia Gnome
Fallen Pine Cone
Red/ Brown/ Yellow Toadstools
Smug Bug Net Trap
Old Stone Wall Foreground
Shiny Orange Hasee Balloon Toy
To find more NP items, search words like “Chia Gnome”, “Banner”, and “Foreground”. I was surprised to see a bunch of wearable items I didn’t even know existed. (Of course, all “Backgrounds” can be worn by UCs, Mutants, Maraquans, etc.)
Cutomizing Your Pet: Putting It All Together
Those of you who think that the tricky part is the finding of wearable items will be surprised to find an even greater challenge when, after putting all of your shiny new wearables in your closet, sit down to customize your pet.
Where to begin? What matches? Why doesn’t this look right?!
There are a few common problems when customizing UCs.
1. Everything looks flat.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, some UCs appear more dynamic than others. Because of this, be wary when putting together ‘looks’ that include too many of the same color. This can wash out many pets and make them disappear into their backgrounds.
Try picking background colors that are similar to your pet but darker, to bring out the appearance of shadow, or different but complementary. Both methods will make your pet seem to ‘pop’ out of the page.
2. Where’s my pet? / My pet looks so alone!
Though it isn’t good to pick a background that is too busy, one that is very sparse may make your pet look uninteresting or simply not unique.
If you do choose to use a very plain background, make sure to add some foreground items or a banner to spiff it up by adding layers.
3. My pet is floating. O.O
Unfortunately, some UC pets appear to ‘float’ just above the floor/ground area of backgrounds. Although there is no way to ‘fix’ this problem, it can be avoided. For NC items, simply make sure to try everything on beforehand. For NP items, try to find pets that are wearing the background you want and see how they look. If you have a friend that owns the background, you may ask (not beg) to let you borrow it, or try it on their own UC pets to see if they are situated properly.
4. Nothing matches! *sob sob*
The worst thing to do is to get worked up about lack of options for your pet. Try looking at color charts online or observing colors that work well together in life (paintings, items lying around the house, magazines) to draw inspiration from. Play around. Practice and practice (and soon new wearables will be released – teehee!)... or maybe you’ll just get better at customizing. :) Also look to other pets (both converted and unconverted) for ideas. Check the customization spotlight for ideas. Look through the customization boards. There is sure to be a lot out there!**
Remember to HAVE FUN while making your pets look fabulous. If you are a frustrated fashionista, you won’t be able to experience your full potential of fabulous customization combinations. If you truly are stuck in a rut, follow the three Rs: Relax, Remove, Re-start. First, relax and take a deep breath. Next, remove all clothing to start with a clean slate. Finally, re-start your creative process by looking for new inspiration. Sometimes, simple is the key.
I hope this guide helped alleviate some unnecessary customization stress and causes increased enjoyment in the art of customizing pets. Until next time!
*Warning: Being in a prolonged state of customization funk can cause dizziness, drowsiness, impatience and excess frustration!
** In fact, I’ve recently created an UnConventional Customization Directory for nicely-customized “unconventional” pets. It is sure to bring some inspiration in the form of color choice or item choice.